Tag Archives: PBS shows

Film takes flight

Arizona Audubon shares tales of Pale Male at this year's Nature Film Festival in Scottsdale

I’ve got a serious case of bird envy. Turns out there’s a Red-tailed Hawk who thinks he’s got his own Fifth Avenue penthouse in NYC.

I’d be lucky to catch a cab on Fifth Avenue, let alone perch there long enough to ogle the passersby.

The bird, dubbed “Pale Male,” started “raising his young atop a Fifth Avenue high-rise” during the 1990s. Apparently it wasn’t enough for “Pale Male” to garner the attention of urban “birdwatchers, movie stars, poets, children, dogs, reporters and celebrities.”

He’s flying high on the prospect of fame, having already starred in one movie. Naturally it’s called “Pale Male.” But come Wed, June 15, he’ll be spotted near a Scottsdale high-rise as “The Legend of Pale Male” is screened at Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre – where I enjoyed seeing “The Beaver” with my daughter Lizabeth Monday afternoon.

The latest tale of “Pale Male” is one of two films being shown during Audubon Arizona’s “9th Annual Nature Film Festival & Silent Auction.” Don’t expect “Pale Male” to coast in for the event. He doesn’t do personal appearances.

Your family can read about Pale Male before enjoying the Nature Film Festival together

I wonder how he feels about sharing top billing with a bunch of hummingbirds. Their film, titled “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air,” will also be shown that evening.

Sounds like a fun way to introduce kids to the magic of film festivals — especially if you couple the evening with reading about “Pale Male” or birds of other feathers.

The Audubon Arizona event kicks off at 5:30pm with a “picnic supper” and silent auction. Organizers promise “one-of-a-kind” items including “unique art, jewelry, restaurant certificates, sporting and cultural events.” Also “travel-themed packages, including local resort stay-cations and a thrilling African safari!” Films start at 7pm.

It’ll be quite a step up for me, since most of my animal time involves watching nature shows on PBS. Lately I’ve had great fun getting to know more about birds featured in the BBC “Wild Australasia” and “Wild Caribbean” series. (I remember my mom doing the same thing when she was my age.)

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air from the PBS Nature series will also be shown

Seating for the film festival is limited, and RSVPs for advance admission are due no later than June 12.

Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 at the door (if space is still available) — and include the two bird films, a picnic supper, popcorn and soda.

You can pop for a VIP ticket if you’d like to enjoy reserved seating and express auction check-out. VIP tickets are $100, and include a $75 donation to Audubon Arizona.

General admission and VIP tickets can be purchased through Valerie Ramos at 602-468-6470, ext. 103 or vramos@audubon.org. They’ll be held for you at the door. Unless, of course, part of the “Pale Male” entourage sweeps down to snatch them up for nesting material.

– Lynn

Note: Lizabeth and I both enjoyed “The Beaver,” but wouldn’t recommend it for children. It’s solid storytelling with fine acting and direction. Those who find its premise absurd don’t know the power of depression. Watch the credits carefully for a movie-related website with mental health resources.

Coming up: Arizona arts with a Tony Awards® twist?

Hip hop with heart

Having a teenager is a humbling experience. Recently I learned of a combined hip hop/theater event being presented by ASU, and I eagerly shared my excitement with my 17-year-old daughter, a high school senior who’ll soon head to college to study theater.

After telling her about the hip hop/theater connection, I got “the look.” And then this quip: “That’s not new, mom.” She even had evidence to support her claim. A master class in Shakespeare and hip hop taken during last year’s thespian festival in Phoenix. The musical “In the Heights” performed at ASU Gammage.

She’s right, of course. And now I seem to find theater and hip hop, or something like it, around every corner. Even on that same day’s episode of “Charlie Rose” on PBS, which featured actor and comedian John Leguizamo talking about his latest one man show titled “Ghetto Klown.”

Were we not traveling to the East Coast for a final college trip this weekend, I might be able to redeem myself by taking Lizabeth to the latest “Performance in the Borderlands” — which merges hip hop, graffiti and theater arts. It features a new play by L.A. artist Rickerby Hinds: “Dreamscape.”

The “Performance in the Borderlands” initiative is “designed to bridge cultural boundaries by offering events featuring artists, critics and scholars who creatively explore the U.S./Mexico Border region.”

Hinds’ latest work “uses a hip-hop beat, dance, drama and poetry to explore the broken life and lost dreams of a young black woman who was shot to death by police while sleeping in her car in Riverside, California.” It’s based on a true story.

“Dreamscape” is suitable for ages 16 and up, according to Megan Todd (she and Mary Stephens put the event together for ASU). Recently I spoke to Todd, who notes that “Hinds is at the forefront of blending the language of hip hop with the theatrical form.”

Todd says Hinds’ work is important and relevant because it “deals with poignant social issues of our time” — including violence and racial injustice. She sees “Dreamscape” a profound way to contrast “youthful presence” with “some of the harsh things going on in the world.”

Having studied feminist theology as a doctoral student, I was eager to ask Todd’s take on the perception that hip hop music is misogynist — promoting hatred of women. Todd notes that there are many forms of hip hop, and that it’s the gangsta rap type of hip hop music that most often offends.

But Hinds’ hip hop, according to Todd, is “more soulful, roots hip hop” that takes the language of hip hop and “makes it grounds for the articulation of social issues.” For Todd, Hinds’ work is all about “finding places to connect and talk in a language that bridges our common humanity.”

ASU is offering several related events this weekend. “Dreamscape” will be performed Sat, April 23 at 7m — at “Phoenix Center for the Arts,” located at Third St. and Moreland Ave., in downtown Phoenix. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door.

Phoenix-based artists Tomas Sosa of “Soul Phenomenal” will open the evening performance, and local DJ Alchemy will spin outside of the theater before the event. ASU notes that graffiti artists and dancers will also perform outside, and that a “talkback” with the cast will take place following the play.

You can head to ASU Friday, April 22, from 6-10pm for a free arts experience titled “Civil Disobedience” — taking place at the Galvin Plaza. The featured performance begins at 6:30pm and includes “Third Eye View” from the ASU School of Dance, an excerpt from Hinds’ “Dreamscape” and the Dulce Dance Company.

The event also includes an MC exhibition, a DJ exhibition, a graffiti clinic, a DJ clinic and live graffiti artwork — with a panel discussion to follow. It’s all designed, says Todd, to continue a conversation started when Hinds performed another piece for ASU last year – a conversation that unites diverse people through the common language of hip hop.

If you’ve never considered the power of hip hop music to unite and inspire, this is your chance to see the heart of hip hop in action. “It all comes down to love,” reflects Todd.

Trip your teens out by alerting them to the event, or by going yourself. When they ask for a ride to the mall or the movie theater, just tell them you’ve already made “civil disobedience” plans.

Then pay special attention to those teaching or performing the fine art of graffiti. It’ll come in handy one day when your teens head off to school and you’re ready to reclaim, and redecorate, the nest that they’ve left empty.

– Lynn

Note: The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts‘ School of Theatre and Film presents a free Rickerby Hinds Colloquium Fri, April 22 from 3-4pm at ASU in Tempe (Location: Music 130).

Coming up: A is for Alaska, B is for Billy Elliot